WASHINGTON (September 24, 1997) -- The Catholic Bishops of the United States have merged onto the information superhighway, launching a site on the World Wide Web to highlight the work of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference.
Internet users can now find news releases, statistics, statements, and other information developed by the NCCB/USCC at http://www.nccbuscc.org. Currently, eighteen departments and offices regularly post materials to the Web site.
"As new 'netizens,' the Bishops are eager to explore the incredible potential the Internet holds as a means of evangelization," said Bishop Thomas Costello, Auxiliary Bishop of Syracuse and Chairman of the USCC Communication Committee. "They rightly view the Internet as a vast opportunity for reaching out to people, sharing with them the Good News of the Gospel. The Conference is working hard to develop a Web presence which fulfills their vision."
The Web site is structured around the work of the Conferences' departments and offices, with links from the main homepage to 18 departments and their 300 pages currently online. Additional departmental pages are being added as they are developed.
"The site is constantly under construction," said Bill Kissane, NCCB/USCC's director of Management Information Systems. "A number of offices are working to complete their homepages, and for some of those already online, a second generations is already in the works. We are always striving to keep the site fresh and easy to use."
The type of information available and the design of different departments' pages varies. From the Communications Department page, viewers can download the full text of news releases, statements, letters and other Conference news. In addition to current news releases, there is also an archive, dating from January, which can be searched online.
Information about changes in liturgical texts, the subject of discussion among the Bishops for most of the 1990s, can be found on the Liturgy Secretariat's Web site, as well as excerpts from the newsletter of the Bishops' Committee on the Liturgy. Liturgy and homily resources specifically related to the Church's social justice teachings also can be downloaded from the Social Development and World Peace Web site. Materials to assist with preparations for the Third Millennium and the Jubilee Year 2000 are available at that Secretariat's Web address. These and 14 other departments can be accessed from links on the Conference's main homepage.
"The Second Vatican Council tells us that we are duty bound to use the instruments of social communication to proclaim the Gospel," said Bishop Costello. "It is an obligation, then, and a tremendous opportunity to bring the Conference online."
The Conference's site on the World Wide Web joins the acclaimed Vatican Web site, many archdioceses and dioceses, hundreds of parishes and Catholic schools, as well as religious orders and Catholic social service agencies.